The ANC Brief: May 29, 2018


Posted at May 29 2018 04:31 AM

Here are the stories ANC will be covering today:

President Duterte presides over a Cabinet meeting at the Malacañan Palace early in May. Toto Lozano, Presidential Photo

President’s men in hot water
President Duterte has fired another official in a very public way. During his speech at the Palace Monday, the President ordered the firing of OGCC chief Rudolf Jurado as the Chief Executive let loose an expletive. According to reports, Jurado allowed the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (APECO) to approve a 75-year permit to a casino operator. Jurado also drafted an opinion that allowed Apeco to operate outside the Aurora Economic Zone. Jurado accepted the decision of the President. Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says there is no conflict of interest in the case of Solicitor General Jose Calida after it was discovered that a security agency owned by his family managed to bag some government contracts. Calida’s critics have called for his resignation or his firing. Roque said Calida was under attack for filing his quo warranto petition against former Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. Roque said the security agency does not have a contract with the Office of the Solicitor General, that Calida resigned from the agency before his appointment and that mere stock ownership of the firm is not prohibited by law. Roque will hold another briefing for the press at 10:30 a.m. in Bontoc, Mountain Province. President Duterte will be at PICC at 4 p.m. for the commencement exercises of San Beda College. Watch ANC for the live coverage of these two events.

Confrontation in the high seas
At Monday’s flag raising at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano issued a challenge: that if anyone can prove the Philippines lost an island to China, he would resign. He also said they would disclose diplomatic actions of the Philippines on the South China Sea issue “at the right time” and that “nothing is secret forever.” In short, it’s not true the DFA has been sleeping on its job on the issue. Meanwhile, China sent warships to ward off U.S. warships near the Paracel Islands. Beijing said the U.S. ships entered Chinese territorial waters without permission. Also, three U.S. senators sent a letter last May 25 to U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Matthis calling for the U.S. government to respond to China’s deployment in the South China Sea. The three are Republicans Marco Rubio and Cory Gardner and Democrat Ed Markey. The three said Chinese President Xi Jinping reneged on his promise not to militarized the area. On Early Ed, analyst Jose Antonio Custodio will talk more about the developments in the area.

A plane docks at Terminal 1, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Pasay City, April 13, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Transpo troubles
The Philippine Competition Commission said Grab fares increased while services deteriorated since it took over Uber. Meanwhile, it might be time to take that long-delayed summer vacation. Air fares might go up as Cebu Pacific has applied for a fuel surcharge of between P70 to P250 due to the rising costs of fuel and weak currency. ANC’s Business group will check with Philippine Airlines if they are poised to do the same.

Work and home balance
The House of Representatives has approved on final reading a bill that seeks to give private sector employees the option to work outside the office through telecommuting. Will this be the start of a “work-from-home” culture? ANC will explore this with opinions from employee and employer groups.

Congressional power
At 1:30 p.m., the House of Representatives will continue its probe into the immediate approval by the Energy Regulatory Commission of 7 power supply agreements involving Meralco at 1:30 p.m. At the Senate, the Commission on Appointments will tackle the appointment of DOT Sec. Berna Romulo Puyat and other officials at 9 a.m. ANC will bring you the latest on these two events in Congress.